Larry Press, an Information Systems professor and owner of the blog The Internet in Cuba, talks with a Cuban telecommunications engineer:
A conversation with a Cuban telecommunication engineer
I asked for input and test runs from people in Cuba in a recent post, and I’ve had an interesting email conversation with a telecommunication engineer who says he has never worked in that field. He asked me not to share his name or email address.
We talked about Internet access. He says only foreign people with permanent resident visas, foreign students, and business with foreign capital can get Internet accounts, and that those dial up accounts have all ports open.
Enterprises throughout the country can get DSL connections, but they are limited to Web (HTTP) applications. He has also heard rumors that pro-government bloggers get DSL connections.
He told me that Cubans are not allowed to connect to the Internet from their homes so they pay an illegal fee of 1.50 to 2.00 CUC per hour to buy time from foreign students and others who have dial-up accounts. (One CUC = US$1.08 and the average wage is 20 CUC per month).
It is legal to buy a WiFi card (if you can find one in stock) and connect at one of a few hotels in Havana or Varadero with WiFi connectivity. They charge 8 CUC per hour for access to a 128 kb/s link that is shared by all of the hotel users at the time. The second legal option is to go to a Cyber-Café or hotel which charges 2 CUC for 15 minutes of access to PC with “veeery slow” connectivity.
Education centers like universities and medical schools are connected by fiber. Within the organizations they have 100 mb/s LANs behind NATs. He recalls a time when the university he attended (I won’t say which one) had only 512 kb/s connectivity for approximately 1,000 PCs. That was eventually stepped up to 2 mb/s.
He is on point-to-point Ethernet connection to enet.cu, and is able to trace the route from his dial-up connection to Google via a Newcom International satellite link. Average ping time to Google was 683 ms. Ping times to other machines at enet.cu averaged 110 ms.
He did not want to run many tests, because he feared surveillance by CuCERT. Like their counterparts in other nations, CuCERT is charged with responding to network security incidents, but he characterizes them as being like “cyber-cops, who can enter your house, pick up your HDs and walk away without previous notification.”
Read the entire enlightening article HERE.